Australia Will Swap All 4 Legs of Women’s 800 Free Relay for Finals

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

The Australian Olympic Committee has revealed that the country will unroll an entirely new foursome for finals of the women’s 800 free relay on Thursday morning.

According to the Australian Olympic Committee’s recap:

Intriguingly, McKeon scratched from the 200m freestyle at Tokyo but with it was revealed after Australia blitzed all opposition in the 4x200m freestyle relay heats that the Dolphins will field a completely new quartet for the final. That is an extraordinary demonstration of depth but with Ariarne Titmus winning the individual 200m freestyle here, Madi Wilson placing eighth in the final, McKeon holding the seventh fastest time in the event, 1:54.55, and – presumably either Cate Campbell or Leah Neale to be called upon, Australia looks like selecting an awesome quartet to race for gold.

Still, spare a thought for 17-year-old Molly O’Callaghan who posted a 1:55.11 in the lead-off leg, a time which knocked Bronte Barratt out of the 18th fastest time in history. After O’Callaghan the strong performances kept coming with Meg Harris (1.57.01), Brianna Throssell (1.56.46) and Tasmin Cook (1.56.03) all swam their hearts out, knowing that none of them would swim for gold on.

As pointed out in our relay substitutions breakdown here, O’Callaghan’s 1:55.11 leadoff leg gave the Australians a really difficult choice to make. Their hand is forced to use Leah Neale on the relay, because it’s the only event on her schedule, and Madi Wilson swam the event individually for Australia, and so there is some pressure to use her as well.

Emma McKeon and Ariarne Titmus are the country’s two best in the event, and so they’ll be added to the finals relay as well.

So even though O’Callaghan’s leadoff leg is faster than what we’ve seen from Neale or Wilson, they’ll both get the nod in the finals heat as the Australians race for gold. Technically, Australia did not name the finals group, but there are no obvious options beyond the four listed as substitutions below.

Australia (1st seed)

AUSTRALIA PRELIMS SUBSTITUTIONS
Mollie O’Callaghan – 1:55.11
Ariarne Titmus – 1:53.09
Meg Harris – 1:57.01
Emma McKeon – 1:54.74
Brianna Throssell – 1:56.46
Madi Wilson – 1:55.68
Tamsin Cook – 1:56.03
Leah Neale – 1:56.08
Time – 7:44.61

That probably doesn’t impact their chances at winning – they were 3 seconds ahead of the field in prelims, and the addition of McKeon and Titmus is far better than any other country has in reserve. It might, however, impact their chase for the World Record that Australia set at the 2019 World Championships.

That record-setting quartet was:

Thursday morning’s finals relay then will essentially swap in Neale (who swam a prelims leg at Worlds) for Throssell.

We don’t yet know Neale’s form at this meet, so she could come through and do her bit to still chase that record, but it’s going to be hard for her or Wilson to do better than O’Callaghan’s split from prelims.

In This Story

60
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
60 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Swimingggg
1 month ago

lol imagine they shock us all and sub-in Cate Campbell like the Australian Olympic Committee suggested is a possibility

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 month ago

Not sure this is the most reliable given that they’re suggesting Cate Campbell…

Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

as if giving neale a free pass into the final wasn’t enough, cate campbell swimming a 200 would be mortifying

Boomer
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

her best is 1:58 I think, not that far off from Neale lol

M d e
Reply to  Boomer
1 month ago

2 seconds.

Ihor
1 month ago

Leah Neale not in roster to olimpic games

Ihor
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

I don’t know what they announced
but she is not on the list of Australian athletes on the Olympics website

Fish
Reply to  Ihor
1 month ago

Australia announced 35 swimmers. Olympic site lists 34 swimmers. Maybe on oversight? She does seem to be in Tokyo.

Fish
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Interesting. She is not on the Australian list of swimmers.

https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/all-sports/athletes.htm

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Fish
1 month ago

curious. her ig has a few photos of her in the olympic village and pool wearing her uniform

NC Fan
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

And from training camp, so she clearly thinks she’s on the team and in Tokyo. Maybe she snuck in with the Polish team.

John
Reply to  NC Fan
1 month ago
  • Uzbekistan?
jeff
Reply to  Fish
1 month ago

https://www.olympics.com.au/olympians/leah-neale/

strange, maybe the official Olympic site is just wrong since she’s listed on the Australian Olympic site

swimlikefishdrinklikefish
Reply to  Fish
1 month ago

Were the people who were saying she would become “ill” and get a waiver correct?

commonwombat
Reply to  swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

It IS an out available to them if they can get it OK’d by the official medical staff, not just team doctors.

jeff
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

i can only assume that O’Callaghan is coming back then just based off her performance

Samesame
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

She can’t. Unfortuneately. So sad for Mollie

Ger
1 month ago

Molly O’ Callaghan is very unlucky. Maybe the coaches just want to give another swimmer a medal. 3 of the swaps are obvious.

commonwombat
1 month ago

A New 11th Commandment for AUS Coaches/Selectors

We will never again back ourselves into a corner with relay nominations when the FINA rules give you an “Out”.

Nic Ola
1 month ago

a mistake

Jamie5678
1 month ago

They clearly wanted to get 8 swimmers a gold medal.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

at this point there might be no gold medal

Jamie5678
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

I’m not Australian but I can sympathise with your panic!

I don’t personally agree with Australia’s policy here – and I think their selection generally is a bit all over the place. But the only possible reason that they swim Throssell and Cook in the prelims is to enable 8 swimmers to get a medal rather than 6.

Is it a slight risk? Yes. And I wouldn’t have done it. But Wilson and Neale performed at trials and they’d have to be a big meltdown for the Australians to lose.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

difference is wilson swam the 200 free individually and made the final. neale on the other hand hasn’t swum at all this week, and trials times are not a great indicator of someone’s form later on, especially someone with neale’s relay history. she deserves the gold medal for coming 4th at trials. but it should’ve been through the heat swim, and I thought how the teens performed in the 4×100 would stop this from happening, but apparently not

zainol
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

dear oz swimming coach, never and ever put leah neale and madi wilson, let molly, harris, mc keon and titmus, dont arrogant otherwise oz will lost gold medal, why make so much problem on this, stupid coach

commonwombat
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

Not likely to see a meltdown from Wilson. She hasn’t been as quick here as at Trials but by no measure has she been poor. Making an Olympic individual final is no gimme and 1.56lows are still very reputable.

Neale’s history in relays IS one of unreliability. 4th place at Trials earns you a plane ticket …… and a right to compete for a finals berth by performing well in the heats. It should NOT entitle you a first class ticket into the finals quartet. That’s for the top 2 at Trials who earn individual swims and even then, nothing can be guaranteed if their performances are sub-par.

Aigues
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

We must say that in 2016 trials she swam 1.58.12 in final… now she enters the meet with a 1.56 low. She just has ti produce something similar to her trial time like in 2016.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »